I fell in love in middle school.

It wasn’t a ‘love at first sight’ type of love

or even a storybook romance

but it is my love story and


24 years later,

I can still remember that first time we were introduced

as if it were yesterday.


I remember hearing the final school bell ring

and slowly walking to my locker,

pulling the rusty door open and tossing in my books

amidst the crumpled papers of the previous week’s homework.

The hallway bustle began to quiet

as I quickly jammed my backpack full of the necessary

books to complete my nightly assignments.

As I went to close the door,

the drawstring bag hanging on the hook

once again caught my eye.

Stuffed with shoes and clothes,

this bag represented the turmoil in my heart.

I knew I had to make a split second decision and

as I waffled between staying or going,

I let fear win.


I snatched the bag off the hook,

slammed the door,

and quickly began to make my way to the bus loading area.

My mind was made up,

I was quitting before I even began.

I decided to listen to the words

I had been hearing my entire life.

The ones that

continually reminded me

that I didn’t measure up

and no matter what I did

I couldn’t be the star I needed to be.


My pace quickened

as I realized the hum of the students had vanished

which meant my time was running short.

As I sprinted past the front window

a flash of yellow caught my eye.

I stopped mid stride, my breath caught in my throat

as I watched the first bus began to pull away.

I was too late. I was a minute too late.

Tears filled my eyes as I realized that


the decision I thought I had to make

was actually already made for me

and now,

there was no turning back.


As I turned and walked back down the hallway,

my heartbeat thumped so loudly in my ears

that I was completely oblivious to the chorus of laughter

coming from the other students still lingering around

until I saw their faces

and knew that they had to be laughing at me.


I hung my head and scurried past into the locker room

where I quickly found an unoccupied stall

and let the tears freely fall.



What had I gotten myself into?

My heart said “give it your best shot”

while my head

screamed obscenities,

and reminded myself of all of the other things I had tried

and failed.

There was no doubt

this would just be another addition to my list

but I had no choice

I was here

and practice was about to begin.


*to be continued…





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